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Friday, March 30, 2012

Media-Whore D'Oeuvres
"The nomination process for the next World Bank president has yielded three official candidates: Jim Kim of the United States, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala of Nigeria, and Jose Antonio Ocampo of Colombia (Jeffrey Sachs withdrew his candidacy after the United States nominated Kim). According to new procedures agreed to last year, candidates will now interview separately with the Bank's executive board, comprised of 25 executive directors. Once the interviews are complete, the board can begin its deliberations. Along the way, the body has the option of conducting an informal straw poll to test support for the various candidates and potentially winnow the field (the procedures recommend, but do not require, a straw poll if there are more than three candidates). When it comes time to make a decision, most board members will likely push to do so by consensus rather than by vote. The procedures declare "the objective of the Board of Executive Directors is to select the President by consensus." In most cases, the Bank's board does operate by consensus; formal votes are relatively rare. Few key players will want to see the new president elected by a divided board. But of course the formal voting power of individual Bank members and the voting rules will shape even a decision ultimately taken by consensus, and so it's worth reviewing the somewhat byzantine World Bank voting mechanics .." (ForeignPolicy)
"In Spain, the best upper sets do it./ Lithuanians and Letts do it. / Let’s Do It; Let’s fall in love…Cole Porter’s 'Let’s Do It.'  It was running through my head probably because several readers have asked why I hadn’t written anything about the Royal family in Spain these days. This might have been provoked originally by the Diary where I covered HRH Queen Sofia’s visit to Spanish Institute a couple of months ago. At the time I wrote about the receiving line at that evening and how Javier Bardem was present although dressed at this black tie affair in a grey suit and open shirt. An NYSD reader in Spain wrote to tell me that Bardem may have done that as a kind of 'protest' against the Queen because of her attitude about the legality of gay marriage. Evidently she’s not impressed and it’s no secret, at least among the gay population who are also not impressed with her. Being so Anglophilic by culture and habit, the Spanish Royal family does not possess the same gravitas for many Americans that the British does, as if it is somehow our heritage. Or the habit of our heritage. However, the Spanish Royals are older than the British and except for the interruption by Franco, are the longest lived Royal Line in the world, second only to the Japanese. They are also related to all the other royal families, often very closely. The Spanish people have wielded enormous power all over the planet in times gone by. It was the Spanish, after all, who made the first real inroads of fatally disrupting the native inhabitants of the New World with their 'conquest' in the 16th century." (NYSocialDiary)


"Socialite Annie Churchill has split from her husband, Andrew Albert, who faces up to 4 1/2 years behind bars after he pleaded guilty to felony grand larceny charges for defrauding investors in a shopping Web site. The couple’s separation is just the latest chapter in a scandal that’s the talk of New York social circles, and sources say Churchill is now lying low at her wealthy mother Barbie Bancroft’s Locust Valley home. Albert’s sentencing is scheduled for May 22. His term might be reduced to one to three years if he promises to repay investors $50,000 of the $590,000 he was accused of misusing. Well-liked Churchill, who lost a starring role on 'The Real Housewives of New York City' over her husband’s legal woes, is known as a fixture at fashion shows and high-society galas. She also regularly rubs elbows with socials including Fabiola Beracasa, Amanda and Gillian Hearst and designer Douglas Hannant, for whom she is a muse. It has been widely, but erroneously, reported that Churchill’s first husband is a grandson of Winston Churchill. Sources say Churchill and Albert had already separated when he pleaded guilty this week, and she’s now going to pursue a divorce after three years of marriage." (PageSix)


"Even though ABC's aggressive move to topple The Today Show appears to be working so far, it has backfired a bit. According to sources, anchor Robin Roberts and Elizabeth Vargas are furious over the network's decision to put Katie Couric in the GMA co-anchor role next week while Roberts is on vacation. Roberts is agitated by the high-profile substitution in her absence and has never been impressed with Couric's pluck or perceived star-power. Vargas has more justifiable gripe since she's been under the assumption that as part of ABC/Disney's plan to increase her role and visibility she was first choice to slide into the co-anchor seat when Roberts is away." (Gawker)


"So yes: Greg Smith changes careers, from one system of fleecing people to another! Publishing and investment banking have a lot in common in their machinations actually. Just that in publishing, only eight people get rich. And you gotta move a lot of merch to get that $1.5 million back. But don't worry about Hachette's Grand Central; they've got David Baldacci and Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter to keep them warm." (Choire Sicha/TheAwl)


"Ekaterina Doronin, the estranged wife of Russian billionaire Vladimir Doronin, has been quietly searching for luxurious digs in the Big Apple, sources say. The budget, we hear, is about a cool $14 million. Reports have said the Doronins are getting a divorce after 24 years of marriage. Vlad has been dating Naomi Campbell since 2008, and — even though he started dating the model after they separated — Ekaterina will reportedly cite Campbell in a divorce filing." (PageSix)

Jessica Raine

"In the February 18 issue of the world’s greatest weekly I wrote that I had fallen madly in love with Jessica Raine, the actress who portrays nurse Jenny in the Sunday-night BBC show Call the Midwife. In the throes of demonic, erotic exhilaration, I may have piled it on a bit thick. So what? If Gordon Brown can ruin the British economy, Tony Blair can take Britain to war based on an outrageous lie, and both bums can still walk around without cuffs on their wrists, surely Taki can walk on air and fly on gossamer wings over someone he’s never met. My whole point was to renounce today’s so-called sex symbols, those drunken tarts one sees piling out of nightclubs wobbling on their thick ankles and slurring their words as they try to pretend they don’t want their pictures taken. Here was Jessica in all the grace, shyness, and understatement that makes a woman so attractive to the poor little Greek boy, so I went overboard. But nurse Jenny is my ideal woman, and although even I in my reverie was aware that it’s a role and nothing more, I compared her with today’s lot and wept. Jenny-Jessica was my incarnation of goodness, and her enchanting looks turned me into an erotomaniacal fool. Even worse, I decided to get back to the Spectator’s deputy editor, who had repeatedly made a fool of me by letting me stew on the altar—and with a cardinal waiting to boot—while she amused herself with family and friends in Old Queen Street. So I wrote, and I quote from the greatest Greek writer since Homer, 'Goodbye, assistant editor of the Spectator. So long, Keira. Au revoir pour toujours, Rebecca. You’re all through, washed-up, history, curtains, finished.' I swear on John Prescott’s fat head that I meant it. In an act of unspeakable revenge, the deputy editor not only went ahead and got married and now calls herself Madam, she hunted down Jessica Raine and commissioned a diary from her. It was a rare honor for someone as young as Jessica, who only has one hit under her thespian belt. And the deputy editor knew exactly what she was doing. In a column last week, Jessica Raine admitted being perturbed by what I wrote about her, advised me to cool my jets, and plunged the knife in deeply by suggesting I read some bloody book by some female called How To Be A Woman." (Taki)


"NBC’s 'Today' won again for the week of March 19, but ABC’s 'Good Morning America' continues to creep up on the perennial leader. The gap last week between the two shows was 140,000 Total Viewers and 210,000 A25-54 viewers. Compared to the same week last year, only 'Good Morning America' is up (+5%) in the A25-54 demographic. 'Today' is down -15% and 'CBS This Morning' is down -16%. All three shows are down in Total Viewers — 'Today' and 'CBS This Morning' are both down -9% and 'GMA' is down -2%. For Q1 2012, the gap between 'GMA' and 'Today' is the smallest in more than six years (since Q3 2005). 'GMA' is the only morning show to improve on its year-ago quarter, growing +1% in Total Viewers and +8% in the A25-54 demographic. 'Today' was down -4% in Total Viewers and -8% in A25-54 viewers, and 'CBS This Morning' was down -11% and -14%, respectively.." (TVNewser)

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